PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Republican congressional leaders say they’ll spend their three-day meeting in Philadelphia “re-imagining” the government and refining their “200-day plan” to advance a raft of conservative legislation.
Just hours after arriving at 30th Street Station and being whisked to the Loews Hotel in a fleet of buses, the leaders of the retreat met with reporters to outline their agenda. Senate Conference Chair John Thune says Republicans see the election as a mandate.
“People wanted us to change the direction of the country,” he said. “We intend to do that.”
Thune says repealing the Affordable Care Act, changing the tax code and eliminating federal regulations are at the top of the Republican’s Congressional agenda, but they’re open to helping the president with his top priorities too, even if they don’t enthusiastically embrace them.
For example, Thune says they’ll cooperate with an investigation of voter fraud, even though he sees no evidence of any.
“I view the election as history,” he said, “and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”
Thune and his House counterpart, Kathy Rodgers, say there are several proposals for each item, but Rodgers believes they can agree on which to pursue.
“And advance conservative policies which will truly lead to opportunity and liberty for all,” she said.
Rodgers called it a time of “hope and optimism.” She and Thune had high praise for Philadelphia.
“It’s really hard for us to imagine a better place for us to come together to really re-imagine this government,” Rodgers said.
A series of protests are planned during the retreat which Thune and Rodgers say they welcome and will listen to.
CBS 3’s Greg Argos reports protesters gathered to gain attention to issues they believe are important.
Todd Hart is concerned over Trump’s stance on climate change.
“He’s shut down all the information on climate change, and to me that’s the equivalent of book burning. He’s eliminating the facts,” Hart said.
Ruth Mooney wants to ensure the Republicans’ plan to repeal Obamacare doesn’t leave millions without health care.
“If they’re going to repeal it, then I really want it replaced right away — not repeal and run,” Mooney said.
However, not everyone is protesting as some are proudly letting the president and GOP know of their support.
“He will turn the economy around. He will stand up to our enemies and he will make America much better, probably the greatest,” Maria Basilva said. “I think we’ll put our full trust behind President Trump and knock off the negative attitude and all work together.”
Trump will be speaking at the retreat on Thursday.